ensemble KONTRASTE

August 25, 2021


ensemble KONTRASTE (eK) has been regarded as one of the most renowned German formations in new music for three decades. It has performed all over the world at venues including the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Athens Concert Hall, and Lisbon’s National Theater. The eK has received invitations to the Vienna Festival, the Chopin Festival Warsaw, the Berlinale, the Salzburg Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Nara Music Festival in Japan, and the Gavroche Festival in Moscow.

True to the words of Pierre Boulez, who wrote: “Culture needs no false security, but open doors and risk takers”, the eK questions traditions and develops new formats, tirelessly seeking out alternative concert venues, and collaborating with other art movements. This is always done with respect for the old masters, yet with great curiosity for the young generation.

The eK’s virtuoso qualities become particularly apparent in its accompaniment of silent movies. Here, it becomes audible that the eK goes far beyond providing a background score and enters into a fascinating partnership with the film. By virtue of its high level of musicality and love of experimentation, the eK succeeds in bringing new facets to silent film classics and thus building a bridge to the present, most recently at the stummFILMMUSIKtage 2019 in Nuremberg with Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s DIE BÜCHSE DER PANDORA (PANDORA’S BOX).

For CARMEN, ensemble KONTRASTE will perform a composition by Tobias Schwencke commissioned by ZDF/Arte. The composer and pianist regularly works for theaters and opera houses such as the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, the Berliner Ensemble, and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. He has already staged or musically directed performances at renowned houses worldwide including the Theater an der Wien, the Teatro Real Madrid, the Uppsala Stadstheater, the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, and the Munich State Opera. He has worked with directors such as Herbert Fritsch, Nurkan Erpulat, Claus Peymann, Leander Haußmann and Frank Castorf. He is also known for his new concertante film music, for example for Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s FAUST at the Salzburg Festival in 2011.

Musical director and conductor: Christoph Altstaedt

Flute: Anke Trautmann; Clarinet: Felicia Kern; Trumpet: Eckhard Kierski; Trombone: Johannes Kronfeld; Percussion: Christian Stier; Accordion: Stefan Hippe; Harp: Markus Thalheimer; Guitar/electric guitar: Josef Müksch; Violin: Martin Emmerich; Viola: Christian Sauer; Double bass: Andreas Müller

ensemble KONTRASTE is supported by the city of Nuremberg, the district of Middle Franconia, and the Free State of Bavaria.



Ernst Lubitsch’s CARMEN from 1918 is loosely adapted from Georges Bizet’s opera of the same name, and was Lubitsch’s first major production. On Museum Island, the ensemble Kontraste accompanied the film with a new composition by Tobias Schwencke, commissioned by ZDF/Arte. Continue reading read more